ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Another Blow.

Editorial from Volume X, No 38, September 20, 1958.

Few policies of the Bombay Government have had to face more challenges than Prohibition. Not only from the press and platform, but also from law courts, this policy or rather the man-ner of its execution has been exposed to f requent attack. Even initially difficult, its e nforcement against those who might be i nclined to drink has become still more diffi-cult, thanks to a succession of judgments. The latest in this series, delivered by the Bombay High Court, has deprived the police of one of the weapons freely used by them hitherto – and illegally, it appears in r etrospect – to i nti-midate and harass people suspected of h aving a drink on the sly. The police had hitherto power to force those s uspected of drinking, to submit themselves to medical examination, though the result of the examination could by itself afford no conclusive proof as to whether the suspect had consumed prohibited liquor.

There is something intriguing in the lengths to which the police go or are obliged to go to enforce this one, not particularly praisewor-thy, piece of legislation – Prohibition. If all the resource and zeal expended on this pursuit have failed to prevent the drink habit from spreading, as is only too evident to all but the wilfully blind, there must be something intrin-sically wrong about that policy. In the circum-stances, not to entertain even the slightest doubt on the efficacy of the policy argues for a mood of self-delusion which would be amus-ing, were it not so harmful to public interest.

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